I consider Mr. Reinvention to be a pretty liberal well rounded guy. He is chivalrous and gentlemanly mannered. He is not a chauvinist. He empowers myself and our daughter. He respects and honors women.
However, like most other males I know he is absolutely clueless about what it means to live as a female. Honestly, how could he or any other male not be completely clueless.
Now before my male readers get all defensive, please just hear me out.
Whether you acknowledge it or not there are infinite contrasts between living as a male and living as a female in modern day society. Historically, we as women have made tremendous societal advances toward equality but we are far from there.
There are the obvious ones like voting, owning property, working outside the home, wearing pants, birth control, equal pay, sexual harassment, workplace double standards, exposing nipples in public, consistent clothing sizes and lines in public bathrooms.
What about the less obvious ones?
The things that girls and women are so accustomed to on a subconscious level they are difficult to conjure up. Because as a woman these things are woven into the fabric of how we exist and who we are.
Just today Mr. Reinvention tells Baby Reinvention who is sitting in her nightgown legs agape. “Girls don’t sit like that- with their legs open.” He meant no harm but I felt the need to immediately refute the statement with “Yes, they can. Especially, in the comfort of their own homes.”. I felt livid with his ignorance! After I cooled off a bit he and I had a discussion about why I do not want him treading into female stereotyping territory with our daughter. After my explanation he immediately understood and stated he will defer to me for that type of stuff. It’s not that I do not want him involved in all aspects of raising up Baby Reinvention. I do. It is that he cannot identify all of the ways in which girls/ women are given messages from the male dominated world at large about who and how we should exist. I understand that men receive similar messages. I see that there are societal expectations misleading both genders. But the fact remains that there are a tremendous amount barraging females daily.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a woman. I fully embrace the power of pussy and how it can move mountains. As author Regena Thomashauer discusses in her book “Pussy: A Reclamation” we as women are the sun of the family. Everything revolves around us. That is penetratingly true. I celebrate being the sun of my family. I revel in my femininity and all of the gifts of being a woman. I own my power and protect that power, fiercely. I hope to impart the glory of womanliness to my daughter.
Yet, I feel I am walking a delicate balance between providing Baby Reinvention with enough information to keep her safe in this world while trying not to crush her innocence or the freedom she feels in self expression. Trying to provide her with the inner ability to harness her own sense of power while educating her to the pitfalls of navigating a society where everyone does not share the sentiment of “Girls Rock”. I encourage her to explore whatever roles she shows interest in. I try to allow her to dress and be however she feels comfortable. Baby Reinvention will call herself a “Girly Tomboy” because she loves drama and dress up but she also loves playing in the dirt and TaeKwonDo. How funny that she identifies that way rather than just a girl who likes what she likes. I don’t use the term “Tomboy” because I think it’s outdated and generalizing. She loves to play with girls or boys and accepts her friends for whoever they are. She does not see the glass ceiling overhead. For her the options are limitless. I am grateful for that. We have discussed how in the past women were treated unequal to men. She is aware that there was a time that where we were considered the lesser sex and male property. While she is sympathetic for our history she doesn’t relate to that time. She is not aware that some of those inequalities persist today. Someday I will have to provide her with the knowledge that:
- In some countries women remain property or a commodity to trade, barter or sell.
- That someday she will be judged based on how she chooses to express herself. She may be called slutty or trashy.
- If she open her legs, burps or farts in public she may be perceived as unladylike or having ill manners.
- If she chooses to have multiple male intimacy partners or open relationships she will be defined as easy or a whore. Whereas, her male counterparts will be congratulated for such conquests.
- She most likely will not earn as much income as her male colleagues just because she has a vagina. She will earn even less if she is obese and has a vagina.
- Female genital mutilation persists, still today.
- Someday walking down the street men will feel they have the right to catcall, hiss, whistle and look at her as if they have X-Ray vision.
- There may come a day where a male tries to make unwanted sexual advances (hello, TaeKwonDo).
- She cannot walk alone in public any time of the day or night without being aware of her surroundings.
- Some men she encounters will never accept her as an equal or competent, regardless of her accomplishments and expertise.
- She will be discouraged to travel alone.
- Her reproductive choices will be a topic of conversation and open to others’ unsolicited opinions.
- If she chooses to become a mother every single action she takes in that role will be scrutinized by someone.
- Some men will look at her as if they want to eat her up and some men will try.
- Most likely, no matter how balanced and liberal her relationship is, if she has a male partner, she will wind up doing more of the domesticate duties than him.
- She will learn to never ever leave her drink unsupervised at a bar or club.
- She may encounter men in crowded places who take advantage of proximity and touch her inappropriately.
- Her physical appearance is subject to others’ opinions openly and constantly.
- There will always be someone telling her she can’t because she is a female.
These are a fraction of our truths as women. These facts are as real to us as oxygen. Like a ghastly invisible appendage we grow with age and experience. Ever present with us.
When I was a little girl I was enthralled with Linda Carter as Wonder Woman. She represented everything my childhood self wanted to become. She was strong, powerful and respected. She was a force to be reckoned with. She was independent. Today, I recognize just how many real life Wonder Women I actually know. How lucky I am to be in the company of so many unyielding femme powerhouses. I emulate my Wonder Women whenever I feel life calls me to buck up and put on my big girl panties. I take a breath, assess the situation, then kick ass with my back straight and my head held high. Proud to be in the presence of Goddesses.
My ladies: Does this resemble your reality? My fellas: Were you aware?